Mexico is the first country in the world to have its traditional cuisine included on the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Mexican eateries are popping up all over the world to meet growing demand but even the very best pale in comparison to authentic local food in Mexico.
Fragrant coriander sprinkled on a taco filled with juicy fresh fish, pulled pork or nachos dipped in the creamiest of guacamole. If you fancy a food pilgrimage to Mexico, these are the most highly-rated Mexican destinations for foodies according to global travellers.*
Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico
Seafood is the local speciality
Los Mochis is often said to have the best food in northern Mexico. Inevitably, the city’s coastal location led to seafood being its forte. Since the Sea of Cortez is home to a vast array of marine life, you can expect to see everything from stingrays and octopus to lobster and crab on the menu. Shrimp and sea bass are particularly popular and done extremely well. But street stalls are where you’ll find the best local food, such as tacos and tamale made with fresh shrimp.
Culiacan, Sinaloa, Mexico
Melt-in-your-mouth shredded, spiced pork
The cuisine of the state of Sinaloa in northwestern Mexico is celebrated for its abundant exotic ingredients and thrilling flavour combinations. And that’s not just restricted to Mexican food, as the large international community have brought Japanese, Chinese, Greek and French approaches to the region’s cuisine. The coastal city of Culiacan is also the state’s capital, and the hub of its culinary prowess. Specialties include ‘chilorio’ (shredded, spiced pork served with flour tortillas) and ‘machaca’ (cured meat).
Pachuca de Soto, Hidalgo, Mexico
The unlikely local dish; the 'paste'
Pachuca de Soto’s signature dish is, surprisingly, the ‘paste’ – as in, the Cornish pasty. Introduced by the Cornish miners that arrived in the 19th century, the locals gave this traditional British dish a Mexican makeover. Fillings include spicy lamb and chicken, beans, pineapple and of course chili peppers.
Tepic, Nayarit, Mexico
Tepic's mouthwatering grilled fish
Seafood features prominently in Tepic dishes; you’ll see succulent species such as sea bass alongside more unusual catches like shark. And lots and lots of grilling. One dish that every visitor needs to try is Mezquite grilled fish – marinated in lemon juice, soy sauce and chili, then smoked over a fire before being served on a platter of salsa and salad. Exotic ingredients like coconut and bananas flourish in the region’s fertile soils, so you’ll find a wide variety of produce.
Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
Head to Mexicali's Chinatown for a real culinary treat
The capital city of the Mexican state of Baja California has a hybrid cuisine. Its huge Chinese diaspora has influenced culinary traditions to the extent that you’ll get fresh Mexican grilled fish and meat dipped in moreish Asian sauces. Visit ‘Chinesca’ (Mexicali’s Chinatown) to try out these combinations and you’re in for a treat.
Córdoba, Veracruz, Mexico
A colourful restaurant in Córdoba
Sit down at a restaurant table in Córdoba to a bowl of cut limes and a cerveza followed by a distinctly Spanish meal. Though the Spanish influence is notable, you can still get the most Mexican of experiences (and dishes); Córdoba is a great showcase of the country’s gastronomic diversity. It’s also famous for its coffee, best enjoyed wandering through a city park or in one of Córdoba’s typically bohemian cafés.
*The data experts looked at recommendations for food in Mexico. Destinations included had to have over 50 recommendations.